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James Fields Mayenschein

West Virginia
Veterans Memorial


James Fields Mayenschein

"His inspiring leadership and courageous initiative reflect the highest credit upon First Lieutenant Mayenschein and the United States Naval Service. He gave his Life for his country."

John L. Sullivan, Secretary of the Navy

James Harold Mayenschein was born in Pedro, Ohio on March 9, 1919, the son of James Sr. and Hazel Mayenschein (he changed his middle name to Fields, his mother's maiden name, when he enlisted in the Marine Corps). His family moved to Malden in the early 1930s, when his father began working at the DuPont plant in Belle. James, his brother Edwin, and sister Irene all graduated from Malden High School. James, who played football and enjoyed riding his motorcycle, graduated in 1937 and joined the Marine Corps in January 1938. He served for four years and then returned to civilian life, but with war looming, he re-enlisted in the Marines and was selected for officer training.
Jimmy Mayenschein, mother Hazel, and brother Edwin
Jimmy Mayenschein, mother Hazel, and brother Edwin

The James Mayenschein Family: Inez, Patty, Jimmy, Rusty. Summer of 1944
The James Mayenschein family in the summer of 1944:
Inez, Patty, Jimmy, Rusty.
Mayenschein married Inez Snidow, his high school sweetheart, in Ironton, Ohio on June 14, 1941. They had two children, son James Homer and daughter Patricia. James served in the Pacific theater from 1943-1945. A former paratrooper, he was very popular with his men. He received notice of his promotion to captain while en route to Iwo Jima.

Mayenschein and his men, B Company, First Battalion, 27th Marines, Fifth Division, were involved in heavy combat soon after their arrival on Iwo Jima. On February 28, 1945, B Company came under heavy fire. They were forced to withdraw and Mayenschein would later be credited with saving his company by his orderly withdrawal and evacuation of the wounded. During the fighting, he was fatally wounded by enemy shrapnel. One of his men later wrote, "I hope to find a member of the Captain's family in order to tell them how much we liked our Captain, how we admired his courage and leadership." Mayenschein was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his actions on this day. United States Marines Corps paratroopers
United States Marines Corps paratroopers

Cartoon of Jimmy Mayenschein, by C. Smith, who was also killed on Iwo Jima
Cartoon of Jimmy Mayenschein, by C. Smith,
who was also killed on Iwo Jima
Captain James Fields Mayenschein was buried on Iwo Jima, but his remains were returned to the United States and he was buried in Mount Olive Cemetery in Parkersburg.

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West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.

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